21 February 2011

Ramblings on the Yearning for Democracy and the Madness of Trade Unions

I must admit that I was a little slow coming around on the current series of uprisings in the Arab world as I wasn't really sure what to make of them. The first one, Tunisia, was easy enough to overlook as it involved a country that US Americans (to borrow a term from Ms. Teen South Carolina) generally have little reason to care about. Tunisia hasn't been the cause of many world issues, they aren't mentioned whenever we hear about nations that harbor terrorists, and their former leaders name was unknown to me (even though I am a regular listener to the BBC World Service that skews Africa heavy...his name is Ben Ali by the way). A nation in upheaval with the express purpose of dethroning a dictator seemed like a good thing, but it was seemed rather inconsequential to most of the world and an isolated incident...so I thought.

Then Egypt happened. The process in Egypt was well-reported and this one was more "meaningful" to much of the world as we know Egypt's importance in world history. In reality, more of the world probably cared because of the antiquities contained within Egypt, but at least we cared. Still, I find it very worrisome that a military government is in control in Egypt "temporarily" and that, very likely, this uprising in the name of Democracy will unsettle the Middle East even more as they are likely to elect a hardline Muslim government. I also found it unsettling that Egyptians overwhelmingly hate Americans even though they are ironically clamoring for the very thing they purportedly hate us for (shoving democracy down their throats). At my core, however, I am happy for a popular uprising that could lead to free elections.

The rapidity of the "revolution" in Egypt and Tunisia seems to have emboldened an entire region that is rife with dictators or other unelected heads of state. Bahrain has had days of relatively peaceful protests and have seemingly won a few concessions. They are merely seeking elections. Libya, on the other hand, have had days of violence and deaths, yet the yearning for democracy is so great that the people continue to risk their lives on a daily basis. I have the utmost respect for these folks and pray Ghadaffi falls quickly.

All this leaves me happy about the desire for freedom/democracy in these countries, but it also leaves me worried as I am afraid this will only serve to speed up the spread of radical Islam as these groups tend to already be fairly well organized in the region. I truly wonder what the majority of the protesters want (hopefully a moderate leadership structure), but I'm afraid what they want they will not get as the vacuum left by the absence of leadership could most easily be filled by a different type of elected (at first) tyrant.

Yet, in Wisconsin, we US Americans have a protest of large magnitude of our own. I find it a striking contrast to the protests that are going on in other parts of the world. In Wisconsin, elected officials (surprise, all Democrats) fled the state instead of performing their duties and voting for or against the measure. The reason being they knew they were going to lose but by fleeing they could postpone the vote. So, instead of letting democracy run its course, they chose to do a very dictator-like thing and forced their will on the people when the peoples' elected officials (representative of the electorate) found it necessary to enact cost cutting measures. This, in essence, was an act against democracy at a time when millions of Arabs are clamoring for just the right to elect an official! Sickening.

At the bottom of this problem in Wisconsin are public sector unions. What that means is that the unions are really lashing out at the very people that pay their salaries. They are saying that the people, through their elected representatives, do not know best. Like virtually everything the Democrat party does, it is elitist at its core.

So, let's us heap praise upon those in Arab countries that are shedding their blood in the name of democracy, and let us remember those Wisconsin politicians that cowardly left the state in a thoroughly un-democratic manner. May the very thing they apparently abhor, democracy, be the very thing that sends them back to private life. And may the most un-democratic institution imaginable, labor unions, be forever banished to American history where their initial purpose can be remembered in a positive light.

The rambling is now over.

No comments: